Just as we love babies, we also love baby post offices — especially baby post offices sitting in the middle of the wide, wild Everglades, like the Ochopee Post Office.
Situated along the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41) between Big Cypress National Preserve and the Gulf Coast section of Everglades National park, the Ochopee Post Office serves a community where there’s not a house in sight for miles.
The Ochopee Post Office is officially the smallest in the US. It’s in a building not much bigger than an outhouse and a single postal worker works every day, frequently selling postcards to tourists and answering questions from tour-bus riders.
In an era where hundreds of post offices have been closed to save money, this post office survives on more than cuteness. It does real work, handling the mail for more than 900 residents of the sparsely populated corner of Florida. (Everglades City is eight miles west.)
The post office hasn’t changed much in 50 years. In 1953, a fire destroyed the old post office/general store and a 7-foot-by-8-foot shed from a tomato farm was converted into the post office you see now.
Since then, the 61.3-square-foot post office has withstood hurricanes. Irma in 2017 was one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded. It destroyed many structures in Everglades City, but the little post office reopened a few days after the storm after temporarily losing power.
A historical marker tells the story of the Ochopee Post Office.
The Ochopee Post Office is a five-minute stop on the Tamiami Trail, a very rewarding road across Florida.. Connecting Miami and Naples, it’s a two-lane highway that is far more scenic than Alligator Alley, which is 20 or 30 miles north.
“Downtown Ochopee” includes one other building — Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe, 39395 Tamiami Trail. Joanie’s specializes in local foods, including frog legs, catfish, alligator, blue crab and grouper.The atmospheric building, crammed with all sorts of memorabilia and oddities, dates to 1928, the year the Tamiami Trail was completed, and the spot attracts all sorts of folks, from bikers to European tourists. Here’s what TripAdvisor visitors says about it.
Your visit to Everglades City area
We love visiting Everglades City. It’s a small fishing village with fresh seafood, historic buildings and access to many outdoors adventures.
- Everglades City is the base for many stone-crab fishermen, so it’s a good place to indulge in the seasonal seafood. Here’s where to eat stone crabs in Everglades City plus general background on the city.
- Visit one of our favorite, off-the-beaten-track stops, historic Smallwood Store on Chokoloskee, just four miles away.
Kayak trails and boat trips near Ochopee Post Office
- One of the best kayak trails in the Everglades is nearby, the Turner River.
- A great saltwater kayak trail nearby, too: Sandfly Loop, which gives you a taste of the Ten Thousand Island.
- Halfway Creek is another kayak trail quite close to the Turner River. It’s where we kayaked the time water was too low in the Turner River.
- There are two good boat tours offered at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.
Stops along Tamiami Trail
- Scenic drive across Florida via Tamiami Trail.
- Shark Valley area of Everglades National Park: Excellent trail for bicycling and wildlife viewing in Everglades National Park.
- Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery: It’s always a thrill to view his large-format black-and-white photos of Florida’s wilds.
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk: This is a beautiful spot worth a short walk.
- Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Interesting Everglades City places to stay and eat
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.